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BREAKING: Espada Claims To Still Want NY Senate Gay Marriage Vote

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**6:00 PM UPDATE**

“I’m going to be pushing very very hard for issues like same-sex marriage to not be pre-determined in a smoke-filled room, but to let it air out in full debate on the Senate floor as soon as possible. You know, people haven’t been asking for guaranteed results. They’re been asking for an honest full debate on the floor so we can vote it up or down.” “We have about eight or ten undecided senators on this issue. That’s what we do here we debate and try to convince people with opposing points of view to reach common ground.” — Pedro Espada, Jr., via The NY Daily News

Pedro Espada, Jr. wants a vote on the gay marriage bill he co-sponsored, according to The New York Times:

“I am for same-sex marriage,” Mr. Espada said. “There will be no guarantees and no quid pro quos, I think there will be a vote of conscience of the senators. And with my partner in government, Senator Skelos, we have not discussed bringing it out to the floor. I’m expressing my own personal desire to see a full debate and decision on this matter.”

In that same piece, The Times quotes Empire State Pride Agenda’s Executive Director, Alan Van Capelle:

“Our issues are not partisan issues […] They are about equal rights for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are treated like second-class citizens. Our hope and expectation is that yesterday’s events will not derail efforts by our community to win the equality we so desperately need.”

But one sees little hope for a bill that was challenged from the start. Some outlets are reporting what now seem obviously false, that the “Bipartisan Coalition” was formed explicitly to ensure the gay marriage bill never came to the floor for a vote. Given that Espada, the co-sponsor of the gay marriage bill has been very vocal about the bill’s future, those rumors seem to be just speculation.

Espada is under criminal investigation by the Bronx District Attorney and by NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Gothamist reports Espada,

“…is in the hot seat again for what one Bronx political veteran describes as doing “a cha-cha around the campaign finance law—spirit and letter.” After the Daily News’s scathing report on Espada’s conduct, Senate majority leader Malcolm A. Smith called him into a closed-door meeting, giving Espada one week to rectify illegalities with his campaign committee.”

Also via Gothamist:

“As the Bronx DA looks into Espada’s residency issue, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has launched an investigation into whether he illegally used a nonprofit group he controls—Soundview Health Clinic—to promote his political campaigns.”

**UPDATE 2:15 PM** Joe My God reports,

“One day after he was installed as Senate Majority Leader in a coup that Democrats attempted to end by turning off the lights in the Senate room, Sen. Dean Skelos is telling the press that he will bring marriage equality to a vote before the current session ends in less than ten days.”

**6:00 PM UPDATE**
New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog just posted “Does Gay Marriage Still Have a Shot?” Essentially, they write what you just read here, and end with,

“Clearly, there are a lot of unknowns involved here. But it’s safe to say that, while the bill isn’t dead yet, its prospects are likely worse than before.”

New York City local radio station WNYC reports that Hiram Monserrate, the other turncoat Democrat, said the leadership change won’t affect the prospects of a same-sex marriage bill:

“I don’t think that it impacts it one way or the other. Senator Espada, who’s the president of the Senate, is in support of gay marriage. he has stated that he wants to have a dialogue and a discussion and an up or down vote.”

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News

‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”

Critics aren’t buying his claims.

Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.

“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor got up and left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.

“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up  $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”

“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then.  He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”

“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”

 

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‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender

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A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.

“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.

“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”

Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.

That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.

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