San Antonio Activist Found Guilty of Disorderly Conduct
On Tuesday Mar. 5, Jesus Padilla, also known as “Mexican Padilla” on Youtube, was convicted on three counts of disorderly conduct and issued a fine of $1,713.
Padilla is a member of the “First Amendment Auditors,” which records police and government workers to test the limits of First Amendment freedoms.
The case involved a confrontation that occurred last year on April 27 at the SAPD central substation.
In the minute-long video, Padilla and his colleges can be seen following three SWAT officers to the entrance of the station and proceeding to shout explicit language and homophobic slurs when blocked by one of the officers from exiting.
Even after exiting the building, Padilla and his group continue to curse at the officers as his colleagues press them for their names and badge numbers.
Padilla is looking to appeal the court’s decision. “As long as I’m not threatening to assault them it’s not against the law,” Padilla said. “They get paid well enough to have thick skin.”
During the trial, Padilla said San Antonio Police Chief McManus himself was there alongside the city attorneys who were representing the three SWAT officers.
McManus applauded the conviction. “It almost puts a dagger in the heart of their First Amendment excuse for insulting police officers,” he said.
“There are two distinct actions here,” he said. “If someone is stopped, and they decide to call a police officer a derogatory term, that’s one thing. But if you are aggressively and in a verbally assaultive way closing space on a police officer when they’re doing their jobs … that is totally different than just calling a police officer a name.”
Only time will tell if Padilla is able to appeal his conviction which is the first time he has gone to trial over an arrest stemming from his self-described auditing.
Texan Teachers May get a Pay Raise
On Monday, March 4, the Texas Senate passed its first piece of legislation for this session, Senate Bill 3.
The chamber unanimously passed the bipartisan bill, which would give an across-the-board pay raise of $5,000 to every teacher in Texas at a cost of nearly $4 billion. The bill was authored by State Sen. Jane Nelson (R–Flower Mound), and supported by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and every member of the Texas Senate.
While the bill was in committee last week, teacher unions came out to support the bill alongside administrators who were unhappy that they weren’t part of the bill. Although administrators were excluded, librarians were successfully added to the bill.
The bill will now move to the Texas House, where House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R–Brazoria) and Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) have focused on supporting merit pay proposals instead.
Although SB3 is great for Texas teachers and will more than likely be passed by the House, the Texas legislature has strongly sought property tax relief as an agenda priority. Especially since local school funding comes largely from property taxes, legislators should take the $4 billion bill into account when comparing priorities.
Alabama Man Sues Abortion Clinic
In Alabama, 21-year-old Ryan Magers is suing an abortion clinic for aborting his unborn child against his wishes.
“We are suing the clinic, the manufacturer of the pill, going after the doctor and going after any professional organization the doctor is affiliated with,” attorney Brent Helms told Fox News on Thursday, adding that “if they are all held liable, it would put a dent on the profitability of abortions.”
Magers’s aborted child, “Baby Roe,” was recognized as a plaintiff in the lawsuit on Tuesday, thanks to Alabama recognizing life at conception, making it the first case of its kind.
Magers, who was 19 at the time, claims that his girlfriend, who was 16, got a medicated abortion for her 6-week old fetus at the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville even after he had pleaded with her to not get an abortion,
“A woman can go and she can have an abortion of convenience but there’s nothing that protects the father,” Helms said.
Magers added that although the pregnancy was an accident, he “owned up to it” and eventually warmed to the idea of parenthood.
“He got excited about being a dad,” Helms said. “He started working double shifts.”
However, the main goal of this case isn’t monetary damages or a jury trial. Helms claims that it is to increase the rights of would-be fathers in Alabama.
“I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby,” he said. “I believe every child from conception is a baby and deserves to live.”
The fact that “Baby Roe” has been added as a plaintiff and that the case hasn’t already been thrown out is a definite win for Pro-Life groups. Now we need to see how far this case goes and if it inspires other would-be potential fathers to press charges as well.
It was not a good week for US stocks, with a few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 25,450.24 on Friday, decreasing by -576.08 points, or -2.21 percent under its Mar 1 close of 26,026.32. The S&P 500 decreased by -60.62 points or -2.16 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq decreased on Friday by -2.46 percent.
Much of the stock market downturn can be explained by recent economic numbers in the US February jobs report and China.
The February jobs reports shows a rather disappointing net nonfarm payrolls increase of 20,000 however it is supplemented by unemployment going down from 4.0% to 3.8%, and year-over-year wages increasing 3.4%. Much of the dismal payroll numbers can be explained by workers who were affected by the government shutdown leaving part-time work to return to their normal jobs.
In China, a rather shocking report came out showing that year-over-year exports fell by 20.7% in February compared to an expected drop of 4.8 percent. Dollar-dominated imports also fell by 5.2 percent compared to economists’ expectations of 1.4 percent. This resulted in China having a positive trade balance of $4.12 billion but, it is nowhere near the expected overall trade balance to come in at $26.38 billion and January’s trade balance of $39.16 billion.
Venezuela Power Outage
In Venezuela, most of the country has been without power for days with 16 states having no power and six having partial power, an outage that has lead to the confirmed deaths of 17 people.
Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, told CNN Sunday that “Venezuela has truly collapsed already,” and accused the Maduro regime of at least 17 “murders” because of the blackout.
“There is no service in the hospitals. These were the best hospitals in the country. If we are in the capital kilometers inside Venezuela where there hasn’t been or there has been very little gasoline with periodic cuts in electricity, without basic goods, with inefficient public transportation? You can say with all responsibility that Venezuela has already collapsed.”
Maduro has blamed the United States for the blackout, telling supporters at a rally Saturday that the nation’s electric grid had been sabotaged. The United States has attributed the outage to the Maduro regime’s “incompetence.”
However, reports posted by Breaking New Live on Twitter claim that over 300 people, including over 80 newborns, have died because of a lack of access to medical care.
Until power comes back on in Venezuela and the number of dead is counted we won’t know how true these numbers are. One thing is for certain: both power and peace need to come back to the people of Venezuela.
San Antonio Founders Monument
On Saturday, March 9, a new art piece was unveiled outside the Bexar County Courthouse depicting the early founders of San Antonio.
The cast metal crew of five included a Native American man, a Franciscan friar, a Spanish soldier stationed at the Presidio, and a couple who migrated from the Canary Islands.
“We are pleased that our ancestors decided to make that treacherous journey by sea and by land,” said Mari Tamez, president of the Canary Islands Descendants Association, the driving force behind the monument’s creation. “It was a true leap of faith.”
The monument was first sculpted by Armando Hinojosa, a Laredo artist whose stone and bronze monument to Tejano heritage adorns the grounds of the Texas Capital. The sculpture was then cast by Stevens Art Foundry in Bulverde.
Speaking at the event, Hinojosa said Alfonso Chiscano, a local thoracic surgeon and advocate for knowledge of Canary Islander history, was the first to contact him about the sculpture. Chiscano immigrated to San Antonio from the Canary Islands in the 1970s.
Over $800,000 was raised for the monument with Bexar County commissioners approving $375,000 in County funds for the sculptures and $68,000 to build the statues’ base in October 2017 and the Canary Islands Descendants Association and supporters raising an additional $375,000.